Movie Title: Saw
Director: James Wan
Date Released: October 29th, 2004
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
The first time I watched “Saw” was in Chile, and I didn’t know that I was watching “Saw”. In Spanish it was titled “Juegos del miedo”, or “Fear Games”, and all I knew about Saw at that time was something about a “clown thing”. I turned it on after you see Amanda’s story, thus, I didn’t see Billy and didn’t realize I was watching Saw until it ended. I really liked it. And to this day, having rewatched it, and seen all the other movies, I still love it.
This movie is very gory – at times. Compared to the other movies though, this one is a walk in the park. The most disgusting trap doesn’t actually happen (the head trap), and the remaining traps we see are over fairly quickly. This movie is my favorite of the Saw series due to its fantastic reveal at the end. By now, nearly everyone knows what happens, but if somehow you don’t know what happens – just stop reading and go watch the movie.
It’s a horror movie – so what really can we review. The acting is pretty standard horror movie acting, with Adam (Leigh Whannell) being probably the worst. He wrote a good story though, so I won’t complain. Cary Elwes as Doctor Gordon is great, and he does the slowly going insane to just finally breaking down pretty well. My favorite though is Michael Emerson as Zep. He’s an interesting character anyway, but Emerson does a great job.
This Saw movie is nice because it’s more psychological than the others. You get introduced to this Jigsaw character, start to see why he is doing what he is doing, despite it being totally insane. Some of the later movies annoy me because they lose the “point”. It’s a crazy point, yes, but still. Those are for a later review (Saw 6 is the worst offender).
If you like horror, and somehow haven’t seen this movie, just go watch it already.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
When you realize that Jigsaw is the man in the floor of the room, is honestly a very surprising moment when you don’t know it’s coming. The reveal is perfect, the music is perfect, and it’s pretty unexpected. Some twists (cough Sixth Sense cough) I think you can easily pick up on if you really pay attention, but this one I don’t think is obvious. Even if you know it’s happening, there aren’t really any clues (that I’ve found) until the final reveal. It’s even quite surprising that Zep is a person in a trap as well.
Another reason I like this Saw is because the “innocents” have a little bit of a fighting chance to save themselves. Granted, it’s partly because Zep doesn’t tie them up good enough – but Gordon’s wife and daughter have a chance to get away. In a couple of the other movies (cough Saw 6 again cough), a lot of “innocents” I don’t think are given a fair chance. And it seems counterintuitive to Jigsaw’s master plan (which does come around in the end of the series, in a way).
Overall – 8/10
If you view this as a standalone horror film, and not take into account how over played the series later becomes, this is a good horror movie, that keeps you on the edge of your seat, with out being overly-gory (though still pretty nasty), and a damn good “twist” at the end.